As the title of this post might have already suggested, I’m going to tackle the matter of shopping for telescopes for children. I’ll start by saying that, in my opinion, the first and most important question that parents have to ask themselves when they’re in the market for such a product is what they’re trying to achieve with it. Why are they getting it, in the first place?
Obviously, it’s very likely that the kid, just like my own, has expressed an eager interest in science, in general, and in looking at the stars, in particular. The issue is that you never can know when a child will get bored with something or the other. Hobbies are good for them and I won’t be the one who will deny this. But, sometimes, you need to take a step back and try to realize whether the child is genuinely passionate about astronomy or not.
The age of the child also needs to be given some thought to. Do you need a toy telescope or a real one? It goes without saying that the first is far cheaper than the second, so you also have to consider your budget. If the kid wants a real telescope, you may have to make an agreement and tell him or her that any advances made to the telescope such as new lenses and any other additions have to come out of his or her little piggy bank. Of course, you’ll be offering some of the financial support but he or she doesn’t need to know all that.
As for the actual shopping process, one of the advice I can give you is to call some magazines and order several catalogs. Start by going through every telescope model available at every online retailer and see what ratings it has received. Some owners who might have a bit more experience compared to you can let you know what to expect in terms of all sorts of mishaps. I had little to no idea as to what features I was supposed to focus on. This article was really helpful, so maybe it might be of assistance to you, too.
Another thing that I would like to point out is that if you just buy the telescope, put it in your living room or backyard and expect the kid to learn how to use it all by him or herself, you’re in the wrong. You need to spend quality time with the child and try to learn as much as you can about telescopes, as well, and that’s because you’re trying to be understanding. Even if you have little to no interest in science, you do in your child.